Morelle & Singletary have first debate weeks ahead of Election Day

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There were tense moments Monday night in the first debate between the two candidates for New York’s 25th congressional district.

Democrat and incumbent Joe Morelle and Republican La’Ron Singletary went head to head on important issues facing our community. The debate was hosted Monday by News 8.           

La’Ron Singletary is from Rochester and was the former police chief until 2020, when he retired from the department and then was fired by former Mayor Lovely Warren after the death of Daniel Prude.

Morelle is from upstate New York but has lived in Irondequoit most of his life and held the seat since 2018.

The big topics of the night came to addressing crime, abortion and inflation.

With the record homicide rate continuing to climb in Rochester, a question from the League of Women Voters asked what federal legislation the candidates would push for to support cities trying to combat gun violence.

“First of all, to make sure that we have as many federal prosecutions as we possibly can. Those allow for different, at our level of government, at the federal level, federal crimes have a different bail system, one that I think the state of New York ought to adopt. Secondly, I want to make sure that we deal with illegal guns on our streets. This is a big difference between Mr. Singletary and me. I am strongly for the elimination of semiautomatic assault weapons. I’m for universal background checks. I’m for greater regulations related to gun shops and people who are selling guns.” Morelle said.

“This is totally campaign rhetoric from Joe Morelle. Joe Morelle can’t even name five homicide victims in the city of Rochester. Adam, if Joe Morelle can name five homicide victims in the city of Rochester, I will be glad to yield 10 seconds of my time. I’ll take his silence as that he cannot name five homicide victims. How about Keith William Booker? How about Javon Sampson? Anthony Mazurkiewicz, Mary Simzer, Rashad Walker. Those are the names. Those are people. Those are lives. Not just statistics. Joe,” Singletary said.

Both candidates were asked where they stand on the topic of abortion.

“I would not vote to ban abortion at the federal level. I am not for a nationwide ban on abortion. The Supreme Court has been clear. It has given back to the states that nine justices and a supreme court where the people would not be able to lobby their representatives for a choice that they want,” Singletary said. “Again, I am not for a nationwide ban on abortion like Joe Morelle has tried to paint me out to be. I am for making sure that all women, especially black women, are allowed to have the choice that they want to make.”

“Letting the decision be made by women. That’s where it should be made, not by their government, but the most intimate decision a person can make. Let them make that decision,” Morelle said. “For 50 years in the United States, that was the path we chose. It was settled law, according to Brett Kavanagh. So let me be clear. And frankly, I can’t tell what Mr. Singletary his position is. It’s changed so many times since the beginning of this campaign, but let me be clear about where I am. I am going to oppose with every fiber of my being a national abortion ban.”

As prices continue to rise, both were asked if democrats were to blame for fueling inflation.

“I think the investments we needed to make would repair this country to help small businesses. Through the PPP program, to help people every single day during this crisis. So those investments had to be made and we’ll continue to make investments,” Morelle said.

“The inflation reduction act does nothing right now to reduce inflation. It’s great that people are going to pay lower cost for drugs, but they’re paying 60% more for a dozen eggs,” Singletary said. “Adam, I will yield 10 seconds to my time again if Joe Morelle can tell me what the inflation rate was when he took office two years ago, when he and Joe Biden, raised their right hand to assume their next term.”

Other topics included defunding the police, the death of Daniel Prude, healthcare, and the war in Ukraine.

Election Day will be in just a few weeks on November 8th.